19 Nov 2019

October in Hokkaido I: Nature

And again: Japan (for the fourth time). And once more, in Autumn (second time during this colorful and slightly chilly season). But exploring an island I had never visited before, further up North, the expansive Hokkaido, home to uncountable mountains, valleys and landscapes to inspire the eye (and the camera). The island is very large, but our trip was going to last only 10 days, so for this trip there we focused on the central region, covering a 3 hour radio (by train) from the capital city, Sapporo, the main attraction at this time of year, not surprisingly, being autumn foliage.

Shirahige colors, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The Forest, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Toyohira River, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Autumn Foliage, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
But interspersed with ochre and yellow, orange and red, we also found blue and green, turquoise and lavender, both up in the sky (surprisingly clear most of the times) as below our feet, for there were lakes and ponds with colors as changing and varied as the times of day, granting multiple visits to the same stop a never-ending opportunity to discover new hues and sights you hadn't witnessed before.

The Blue Pond I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The Blue Pond II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The Blue Pond III, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The Blue Pond IV, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The Blue Pond V, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The Blue Pond VI, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
The Blue Pond VII, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
And water, for this essential element is ubiquitous in the island, be it streaming down the rocky slopes in waterfalls of varied sizes or still as a mirror in the steps of a riverbed. Water playing the game of gravity to the eye's delight or immobile to glimmer with reflections of all that lies above, leaves and branches and clouds and skies, the world bleared in a cadence of a watercolor painting.

Fudo no taki I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Fudo no taki II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Reflections I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Reflections II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Also trunks, canopies and twigs all around, nature permeating most of the space with its hymn of fertility and of beauty (death that brings new life, life that has come to an end to generate new life), the endless circle of life is omnipresent and can be seen and felt everywhere you go with a myriad shades of light and transparency that are always different and the same.

The Stump, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Autumn Leaves, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Looking Up, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Autumn Sky, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
A Touch of Autumn, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Sapporo Botanical Garden, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
And finally, the steam, the basalt, the sulphur, the heat, the smell. Hokkaido (as all the Japanese archipelago) is a land of volcanoes, and you don't have to travel far from any city to encounter one of them, sometimes in the shape of a distant crater towering above hills and knolls, some other times as bubbly and poisonous lakes. Yet even those deadly waters have their uses, and nothing better than them to soothe the tired feet and body in an ardent bath.

Jigokudani (Hell Valley) I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Jigokudani (Hell Valley) II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Jigokudani (Hell Valley) III, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Jigokudani (Hell Valley) IV, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Jigokudani (Hell Valley) V, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Oyunuma Pond I, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
Oyunuma Pond II, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm
What a beautiful island Hokkaido is! Never gaudy, never affected but quiet and unpretentious, it offers the visitor the best gift a traveler can wish for: the radiance of an unexpected moment of beauty in the least likely of places.

Steam or Cloud?, GX80 + Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm

2 Sep 2019

"Wongwien Lek" Photo Walk

Hiatus. Long. Prolonged. Ended. At least so far as one click means the eye saw and the finger moved. It's not that I was not taking pictures I felt satisfied with lately, it's that I simply forgot I ever held a camera in my hands, and I mean any kind of camera (my phone is one, for all that matters, and it's always mere centimeters from me, yet I always neglect it that function). It's fruitless trying to explain why I found myself again in such a photographic wasteland, for this has not been the first time (and attending to the statistics, neither will be the last), so, rather than going over the void, let's keep things easy, straightforward and simple: I went out again, I took some pictures, and, what is most important, I enjoyed it.

In or out?, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Petals, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
A morning walk, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Catching the sunlight, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Passerbies, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Passerby, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
The fisherboy, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
The fisher II, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Mother's love, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Son's excitement, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Still life, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Still life II, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Bricks, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Poles and circles, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Through the fence, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
The awning, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Photowalks, if you happen to live in a city with them, can be a blessing, since they make it easy to defeat lack of purpose and grant you a great opportunity to discover new areas of your own city besides interacting with like-minded people. No more self-indulgence or lame excuses: just get up early on a Sunday morning, and off you go with the camera in your hands ready for a stroll with a machine that, despite what it could look like, it should be your best friend while out shooting, someone (or something) that brings you joy and not fatigue. How ironic that one should not do more often what he or she actually enjoys so much once things are in motion! Hopefully there will be more photowalks ahead (either in a group or by myself), so I hope the rust in my phalanges will gradually peel off and–who knows?–maybe even bid me farewell, at least for a while.

Geometry, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Good luck!, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Urban arrangement, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
The cyclist, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
On feet and flip-flops, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Pushing, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Striped, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Team work, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
Team work II, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm
The carrier, GX80 + Panasonic Leica 42.5mm